Recycling: Is it a reality or a fad?

The concept of recycling was born in the third world. Almost nothing was thrown away; an alternative use was found for everything. If indeed it was discarded, an army of rag pickers collected it and either found a use for it or a source which would buy it and recycle it. The motivation was economic, not environmental.

Developed nations scorned this concept until their garbage accumulation became a serious problem. This gave rise to the ‘go green‘ plastic warriors. ‘Bio-degradable‘ became a holy term. All eyes turned towards governments and big business houses as the main culprits... Convenient targets, I would say.

Maintaining a recycling bin in your home was a great salve to one’s conscience. ‘I’m doing my bit’ was the catch phrase. 

Most recycling processes produce a sizable carbon footprint, which is very much like ‘borrowing from Peter to pay Paul’. An environmentally conscious person may use wooden furniture instead of plastic furniture. But the reality is that the plastic furniture is made from fossil fuel and one has to cut trees to make the wooden furniture. True, the wooden furniture is bio-degradable, but is it ‘green‘ to cut trees?

The answer lies in the responsible use of materials and in finding ‘green‘ and non- polluting methods of recycling.